CentreStage with the Lazuli Portals: The Joys and Tribulations of Co-Authorship

Welcome to CentreStage!!!

CentreStage showcases fantastic authors from around the world. The authors might write for you about their lives, their writing, their books or anything else that inspires them.

Today, I have an absolute premiere here on CentreStage! Today, I am featuring not one, but two authors all at once. I’m introducing you to the fantastic co-authorship that is Joanna Gawn and Ron Dickerson, jointly know as The Lazuli Portals. Intrigued? Well, so was I when I first encountered this amazing pair (in book terms only, not in real life!) on Twitter, and we have become firm blogging friends since.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to share your writing journey with someone else? Read on to get a first-hand account of how that works…

Introducing Joanna Gawn and Ron Dickerson: The Lazuli Portals.
Written by Joanna Gawn.

Unique Dynamic

When Nicky invited us to guest post on her blog, we were thrilled! But then we needed to make a decision: what on earth will we write about?

Undeniably, there are a great many authors out there, but the vast majority are not co-authors. We believe that writing, editing and publishing a series of novels together creates its own, unique dynamic. This also affects us personally, as you’ll discover as you read on.


For a start, we’re a formal business partnership. That means no business decision gets taken without us both having a say – and that can be tricky when I run one other business, and Ron runs two! Finding a decent block of time to ‘discuss things’ can be quite a challenge.

Luckily, technology is firmly on our side. In between occasional ‘real meetings’ (we live about 30 miles apart), we have very frequent instant message chats, in which we discuss anything and everything related to our works in progress, publishing and marketing. If you’re an author, then you know how much time that can take when there’s only one viewpoint (yours!) in play. Then there’s the next blog post and Newsletter to discuss, draft and edit, and writing and editing the Friday Fictioneers ‘flash fiction’ pieces we create each week.

Over the last year or so, we’ve also found a cloud document system to be invaluable for sharing files, because we can both work on them simultaneously. (This also provides opportunities for great silliness!)

Passion and Fun

Both Ron and I are passionate about energy and healing: recognising and directing natural energies, working with the potential that exists around us, and sharing these experiences and ideas as storytellers. We hope our passion comes across in our writing.

Because the Lazuli Portals stories reveal themselves to us through the writing process itself (we don’t write with much of a plan), we learn more about ourselves and our place in the universe, too. For us, writing really is alchemy – a journey of personal transformation.

What we write could be labelled as visionary fantasy. But we’ve chosen not to align ourselves too closely to any particular label, as we believe that our series has appeal beyond those interested in energy-healing, crystals and unseen realms. But we do hope that reading our series encourages an open mind, and perhaps an expansion of awareness of what is possible – of the very real potential which surrounds us in each and every moment, and how it can be used for the greater good. The only thing holding you back is you.

As we’ve had quite different life experiences, we both bring something new and fresh to every discussion – and of course we are both continuing to learn on a personal level. We intend that our writing, publishing and marketing choices bring us as much satisfaction (and as many readers!) as they can. This is fun! We’re not in the writing ‘business’ to get stressed over deadlines, or to write or edit when we really are too exhausted and our creative wells are parched. We’d like to keep our sanity and our health, thanks very much! For us both, balance is key.

Protection and Trust

Now, we were very good friends before we started ‘this writing lark’. How do we protect that friendship when creative egos can come into play, and financial decisions need to be made?

There’s a simple answer to that. Nothing that is business-related comes before our friendship. We set that intention back in November 2010 when we began writing The Cordello Quest. Ron wrote the first few sentences of Chapter One, just to see if I could make anything of it; I finished the chapter and tentatively emailed my work to Ron for his opinion. He asked if I minded if he made some suggestions . . . and please would I write more of the story, right this minute, because he was well and truly hooked. 🙂

I needed to decide whether I wanted to write alone, or whether this was a project we wanted to work on – in depth, and with complete honesty – as a duo. You can see which option won . . .

Working creatively with another person naturally requires a considerable amount of trust. We both do our best to be objective about our work, and all suggestions we make are offered and received with respect and complete openness. Anything less would simply not work.

Comfort Zone – Where Did It Go?!

This element of trust was also key in my agreeing to be interviewed, with Ron, live on air by Stafford FM, just a week after we launched The Cordello Quest. Me, speaking live on radio? No way, I thought. But I phoned Ron to tell him about the offer we’d received, and he ‘persuaded’ me that passing up this opportunity would lead to regret down the line.

Of course, he was absolutely right (he quite often is!) Even if I never do a live radio interview again, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I did it once, and I wasn’t terrible, even though my knees were knocking throughout the entire interview! Working together, we bring out the best in each other – and as good friends, that naturally translates into our personal lives, too.

Now we’re attending book fairs and writers’ circles, and have even met with ‘interested parties’ on foreign shores! Believe me, as an ex-agoraphobic, I’d have done none of these things without Ron gently pushing me in the right direction. In that sense, becoming an author really has changed my life – often in ways I would never have expected.

That’s our story so far . We plan to be writing and publishing for many years to come . . . with our friendship remaining intact. 🙂

Thanks for the opportunity to share our thoughts with your readers, Nicky. Rock on!

Yay, rock on indeed! Thank you so much to Jo and Ron for sharing their experience of writing as a duo. I stand in awe and admiration at you two working together as one and how it’s enriching both your lives! It’s been wonderful to have you visit here today, and I hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves. But before I open the floor for questions, first things first…

The Cordello Quest is available from Amazon.co.uk. You can find out more about The Lazuli Portals on Jo and Ron’s website. The Lazuli Portals also tweet and Facebook!

So then, dear reader: could you write jointly with someone else? Share the burden, the pain, the inspiration, the joy? Take turns? Bounce ideas? I’ve got to be honest, I am intrigued but I’m not sure I would succeed. I’m a control freak. But I admire those who can. What about you??

22 responses to “CentreStage with the Lazuli Portals: The Joys and Tribulations of Co-Authorship

  1. Nicky, thank you so much for hosting us today! It really is an honour, and we know how crazy-busy this week is for you. 🙂 xx

  2. Wow! What an interesting and inspiring post. Lovely to read about your journey, Jo & Ron. Reading this, I can definitely see how co-authoring works for the two of you. It sounds like the perfect partnership – give and take – having each other’s best interests at heart. Best of luck in all you do! I shall be sure to check out The Cordello Quest 🙂 x

  3. Thanks for your lovely comments, Jan! I’d say ‘perfect partnership’ is a pretty accurate description 🙂 Thanks for the good wishes, they’re appreciated. 🙂

  4. Joanna, that was a beautifully expressed piece. I’ve often wondered how you both make it work as collaborators on your fiction and now I know.
    I don’t think I’d have the ability to do it, though there was someone who is now in my past I would have dearly loved to collaborated on something creative with, as he felt like a soulmate as a writer.
    I can imagine what you do must be such a unique experience. There are co-creators out there such as Nicci French, but my mentality when working is so self-possessed I guess a bit of my treasures that it is all mine!
    I meant to tell you I downloaded a sampler of your tale from Amazon. I don’t really gravitate to fantasy as a genre, but you’ve got me so intrigued : )
    So pleased Nicky hosted you, I really enjoyed this! x

    • Thank you, Yasmin! I do feel that you have to have a strong connection with someone to ‘risk’ your soul-work in this way. That’s why it took me so long to begin fulfilling my writing dream – the circumstances simply weren’t right until 2010!

      I’m glad you’re intrigued – I just hope we do it justice! 😉 I really appreciate you stopping by, especially with the launch of Gunshot Glitter still taking so much of your time. x

  5. It’s great to read about another writing partnership that works. I write fantasy/science fiction with my co-author (who happens to be my brother). We employ all the latest technology as well, but we’re not lucky enough to plan too many in-person meetings. I live on the East coast and Dave lives on the West coast. It hasn’t hampered our collaboration though and we are having a blast writing together.

    • You guys are so lucky~that sounds amazing! Thanks for visiting and commenting, Debra. Bring your brother next time….XX

      • Debra, that sounds like a great partnership, despite being on opposite coasts of the USA. 🙂
        I looove to hear that people working together are having a blast – it can be so much fun, can’t it? I gain perspectives from Ron that would never have arisen from my own female brain 😉

      • I find the greatest aspect of all of this is that we never have writer’s block. What one of us doesn’t think of, the other certainly will. Dave is a retired Marine so he makes sure all of our fight scenes are perfect and, you have to have kick-ass fight scenes in epic fantasy. Writing is fun, but when you’re doing it with a partner that you get along with so well, it’s the best thing ever.

      • That sounds AWESOME. When are you visiting here???

  6. Yes, having another writing brain on tap does help!
    If I fancy a break from the novels, I just delve into a short story instead; a different pace and storyline can be as refreshing as a long, cool drink on a hot day!
    It sounds like you two have a really good balance. 🙂

  7. I could share just about anything except my writing while producing a story. But I welcome input. Once it’s published, I definitely want to share it.

  8. Wonderful writing Jo. I feel relaxed and calm just reading your words 🙂 Hmmm, did you infuse them with intent haha Loved the Cordello Quest and looking forward to Mosaic of Light x

  9. Thank you, Sharon!
    You did, hey? There was no deliberate intent to saturate them with calming energies, but then again The Cordello Quest seems to offer the same energy without ‘conscious direction’!
    Thanks for your ongoing support – you’re brill 🙂

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